Pawsitive Predictive Value: Pets and Productivity

Understanding the pet–productivity connection for workers is critical to sustained long-term economic growth. Can you predict DrivenData team members' productivity based on their proximity to their pets?

advanced practice
apr 2022
94 joined

About the project

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred unprecedented changes in the culture of work, including a widespread shift to remote work and increased dialogue around mental health. Ensuring that the world's workforce can continue to balance productivity and happiness is critical to sustaining long-term economic growth in the new pandemic normal.

While the loss of a separate office space has presented many challenges, there has been one consistent bright spot—all of our furry friends! Research in countries from the U.S. to Malaysia has shown that pets can significantly improve mental health, especially during times of crisis. However, the added emotional and financial burden can also be a source of stress.

In this competition, paw-ticipants will use machine learning to predict a DrivenData team member's productivity based on their proximity to a furry friend. Pet–human distance is measured every minute, and will be used to predict the rate of lines of code written by that team member. The results can be used to better understand how to support employees while they work from home.

About the data

Four team pets—and their humans—agreed to be tracked over a month-long period in early 2022. Wearable monitors measured the average distance in meters between each pet and its human over every one-minute period. The dependent variable was collected using a Python productivity-tracking extension that recorded lines of code written each minute.

Let's meet the stars of the dataset—the DrivenPets!


Nico’s not sure how she got here, but she is sure that it is none of your business. In fact, nothing about Nico is your business. If you’re so interested in asking questions you should make a friend or something. Good luck with that. I wonder how plastic packaging tastes…


Poncie is a productivity consultant whose unconventional methods led to four-fold increases in petting frequency and corresponding decreases in unnecessary tapping and clicking. She also pioneered the "super power nap," some powerful enough to last an entire work day. All that sleep keeps her razor-sharp to hone her core competencies: regular napping and locating unattended plates of cheese.


Teddy is a greyhound and former Irish professional racer. If he misses his glory days, he gives no indication, preferring to nap at least 18 hours a day. The only time he sprints is when he's excited to go to bed. He is currently enjoying retirement in New Hampshire.


Titus is a pitbull–mastiff–boxer mix with a background in data systems engineering. His favorite human is all humans. When he's not on the clock, he enjoys playing tug, eating cheese, and napping in the sun (or the shade. or anywhere else). He is based in Washington, D.C.